A whopping 49 New York City councilmembers are backing a resolution to designate Coney Island’s Riegelmann Boardwalk a scenic landmark.
In wanting to keep alive the historic character of the Boardwalk, already at risk since no public review process is necessary before renovations of the structure can occur, Councilmembers Mark Treyger and Chaim Deutsch are leading the charge to convince the Landmark’s Preservation Commission (LPC) to give the nearly 95-year-old Boardwalk landmark status.
“The Boardwalk is one of our community’s most precious assets,” said Treyger. “For nearly a century, the Boardwalk’s 2.7 mile span has welcomed millions of people, locals and tourists alike. Whether it is parents pushing strollers, seniors socializing, joggers exercising, sightseers photographing, or even couples taking romantic walks along its classic wooden planks, the Boardwalk is and has been a cultural and social touchstone for all residents of Southern Brooklyn, as well as its global audience.”
According to Treyger’s office, designating the Boardwalk a landmark would officially “recognize the structure as one of Southern Brooklyn’s historic locations,” and, importantly, would also prevent more of its traditional wooden planks from being replaced with concrete and plastic.
“The Riegelmann Boardwalk is an icon of Southern Brooklyn since its opening in 1923. Tourists from all over the world travel to our neighborhood to visit Coney Island and its famous Boardwalk,” said Deutsch. “The Landmarks Preservation Commission needs to recognize the cultural significance of the Boardwalk and preserve its character for future generations. In addition to granting the Boardwalk the historical distinction that it has earned, designating it as a landmark will also prevent any further altering of its nature.”
Treyger and Deutsch, along with Coney Island historian Charles Denson, filed an application and met with LPC officials last year in the hopes of moving the process along.
Developed as the centerpiece of former Brooklyn Borough President Edward Riegelmann’s plan to improve public access to Coney Island’s beaches, the Boardwalk is internationally known as a tourist attraction that also aimed to tie together the surrounding attractions, businesses and residential areas of Coney Island and Brighton Beach.
“For nearly a century, the Riegelmann Boardwalk has offered families and children a pathway to the carnival of Coney Island, connecting generations of memories,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. “The same wooden walkway that inspired writers such as Isaac Bashevis Singer and Neil Simon still inspires millions of people who enjoy its unique character. By designating the Riegelmann Boardwalk as a scenic landmark, we will protect for future generations an institution that defines Brooklyn as a destination unlike anywhere else in the world, honoring the legacy of former Borough President Edward J. Riegelmann.”
Comment was not immediately available from LPC.